Researching and comparing features across the numerous DCIM tools on the market can be overwhelming. What features really matter, and which are the “nice to haves” but not oh-so-necessary? Before deciding, there are some important factors to consider.
The Real Effort Goes into Managing the Data
It’s been said that success is a journey, not a destination. It’s helpful to look at the data management aspect of DCIM in this light. If data center information management was a destination, one would simply load the data and be done… success! Unfortunately, DCIM continues well after the data is loaded. Loading is the easy part; Managing the data’s life-cycle is more akin to a journey than it is a destination.
Effective management of your data center infrastructure can lead to significant service delivery improvements for your customers. As you research data center management solutions, keep in mind that it is first and foremost a data management practice. The business value of DCIM derives from the comprehensive view of the infrastructure only a good DCIM solution can deliver, driving actionable insights and a more effective decision-making framework.
There are a few important questions you will want to answer when making a DCIM tools comparison:
- Do I have an inventory of existing assets? If you are starting from scratch, you will want to consider how the task of collecting and loading the data will be performed. Consider the capabilities of the DCIM tools you are evaluating and how they will help you accomplish this task.
- If yes is the answer to the first question, what is the format? If you already have the data but it’s in a format that can’t be read by your chosen DCIM tool, then you will have to convert the data or possibly manually re-input the data in the new format. Choosing a DCIM tool that can read your existing data directly is obviously your best option. Data conversion isn’t a bad option if the conversion tools are powerful and relatively painless to use. For example, if the data currently exists in a proprietary format, can it be exported to a generic format like a CSV or an Excel file? If your data can’t be read directly or converted, you will need to re-create the data in the format the DCIM tool requires. The time required to re-create the data is a cost that should be factored into the total cost of the tool.
- How is your data going to be maintained? Think of it like marriage vows – if loading the data is the “I do”, then maintaining the data is “till death do us part”. While this may be stating the obvious, avoid tools that pigeonhole you into having to rely on staff with a high level of technical competency. An ideal tool will include flexible data import and export options, including an ability to both import and export spreadsheets, .CSV, and scanner exports for non-technical users, as well as more advanced methods such as custom scripting and APIs.
At Device42, we understand that accurate and actionable data is paramount. More important, we understand that as your data center grows larger, data management can become more and more difficult, time consuming, and eventually even painful.
Keeping documentation up-to-date even for a smaller or medium sized deployment can be extremely time consuming and error prone due to the speed of change that is possible with today’s automated and software-defined everything.
To this end, Device42 ensures has gone out of its way to make each aspect of DCIM documentation as simple and pain-free as possible.
Drag and Drop Tracking for Rooms, Rack Elevations, and Connectivity
For physical room layouts, racks and rack elevations, telecom circuit tracking, power cabling, network cabling, and more, Device42 has you covered. Room, rack, and cable tracking are all drag and drop. You can easily drag and drop racks within a room, devices within a rack, as well as cable and power connections:
Efficient DCIM Document Maintenance
Device42 put a lot of thought into making sure you can handle DCIM efficiently, too. Rooms, racks and rack elevations, and cable management all support manipulation via the API, as well, allowing for efficient setup and automation of changes.
Device42 can help you find space for equipment, too. Finding the next rack slot, importing a racked device, asset, or PDU is as simple as an API call, while reports can also be generated via the API.
Comprehensive Autodiscovery Features
Device42 was created by infrastructure professionals that understand these problems well. We were there, and we knew there had to be a better way. When we explored existing market offerings, we only found tools that lacked, or were taken aback by sticker shock.
We have since focused on (and will continue to focus on) providing a real solution that includes comprehensive autodiscovery, and provides actionable insight: Device42 is powerful and flexible solution to datacenter documentation and management challenges of all sizes, and includes all the options you need to discover, maintain, and leverage your data.
Download Device42 to Get Your DCIM Documentation Under Control TODAY!
When it comes to custom discovery, various Python scripts [all customizable] are available on the Device42 GitHub repository.
To learn even more about Device42 DCIM, please visit our Data Center Infrastructure Management page. Device42 is distributed as a virtual appliance, and our free trial is production ready and fully functional. Download Device42 NOW, and start your evaluation today!